“And for most people who get this Delta variant, it will be the most serious virus they get in their lifetime in terms of the risk of putting them in hospital,” Dr Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration under the Trump administration said CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday.
Delta is the most transmissible variant of Covid-19 to date, U.S. Surgeon General Dr Vivek Murthy told CNN. And experts say it’s exacerbating the increase in cases among unvaccinated Americans.
In Los Angeles County, the rate of new cases of Covid-19 has increased 300% since July 4, the county health department said. Hospitalizations related to Covid-19 have more than doubled compared to the previous month.
And 48 states are now seeing the number of new cases increase by at least 10% more than the week before, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
This is concerning, Murthy said, because often an increase in cases and hospitalizations is followed by an increase in Covid-19 deaths. Experts are particularly worried about unvaccinated populations, as 99.5% of deaths from Covid-19 occur among people who have not been vaccinated, Murthy said.
The only way to stem the increase in cases is through vaccination, Murthy told CNN’s Dana Bash on Sunday.
The fight to increase immunizations is shifting into the hands of local leaders, Murthy said. Springfield, Missouri, Mayor Ken McClure told “Face the Nation” that he hopes community leaders convince people to get vaccinated before it’s too late.
“So it’s up to community leaders, community institutions that people trust, that say we need to get the vaccine. That’s the only way we’re going to get out of this,” McClure said.
Delta variant sends young people to hospital
The Delta variant could spread faster than other strains of coronavirus because it reproduces faster inside our bodies, the researchers found.
The Delta variant is also sending younger and previously healthy people to hospitals – the vast majority of whom have not been vaccinated, according to doctors in several states with flare-ups.
“This year’s virus is not last year’s virus,” said Dr. Catherine O’Neal, an infectious disease specialist at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
“It attacks our 40s. It attacks our parents and our young grandparents. And it attracts our children,” O’Neal said. She said her Covid-19 unit now had more patients in their 20s than before during the pandemic.
In the face of widespread misinformation about the virus and the vaccine, McClure urged people to use reliable sources and “make sure people have the right information.”
Misinformation “takes away our freedom,” Murthy said, adding that inaccurate information inhibits the power of people to make informed decisions about their health and that of their families.
And with the virus’s disproportionate impact on unvaccinated people, the consequences can be serious.
“All of this misinformation going around has a real cost that can be measured in lives lost, and it’s tragic,” Murthy said.
Children under 12 are unlikely to be vaccinated anytime soon
One of the main reasons adults should get vaccinated is to protect children who are not yet eligible for the vaccine, experts say.
On Saturday, Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, shed light on the timeline for approval of Covid-19 vaccines for children under 12.
Right now, he told CNN’s Jim Acosta, scientists are conducting studies in declining age groups, looking at children ages 12 to 9, then 9 to 6, from 6 to 2 years, then from 2 years to 6 months.
“So far things look good, but the final decision will be with the FDA. And I imagine that probably won’t happen until winter, towards the end of this year,” Fauci said.
11 people show up for a three-hour vaccination event
In Alabama, which has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the United States, a three-and-a-half-hour vaccination clinic at a church outside Birmingham on Sunday made little progress as only 11 people showed up. .
Since April 1, 529 people have died in Alabama from Covid-19. According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, about 96% of them were not vaccinated.
Shuntasia Williams, 15, said she received her first dose of the vaccine at the event because she wanted to be protected when back to school next month. She told CNN that she is proud of her group of friends for being vaccinated, but has also seen rumors online that her peers are falling in love.
“I saw someone who said his arm was so swollen it had to be amputated,” Williams said. “This is the craziest thing. One thing about vaccines is that they start to spread rumors about it, but you have to go out and see it for yourself.”
Williams said these are not first hand testimonials from people but rather misleading posts and articles that continue to be shared.
“Believe me. I’m 15. Go get the vaccine. It’s not shocking. My arm isn’t swollen. I’m not going to have my arm amputated. I feel really good,” a- she declared.
CNN’s Aya Elamroussi, Holly Yan, Claudia Dominguez, Ben Tinker and Natasha Chen contributed to this report.
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